This Week in Mormon Literature, April 29, 2011

The big news of the week is that an amazing eight Mormon authors received a total of five nominations for the Hugo or Campbell Awards, among the most prestigious awards given in the speculative fiction genre.  People are gearing up for the LDStorymaker’s Conference next week, Time Magazine put out a Mormon pop culture sampler, and Emily Wing Smith’s latest national YA novel was released. Please send any suggestions or announcements to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

News and columns

Several Mormon authors were nominated for a Hugo or Campbell Award this week. The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are one of science fiction’s two most prestigious awards.  They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention. The winners will be announced at the World Science Fiction Convention in August. The Campbell Award is an affiliated award, presented at the same time, but it is not a “Hugo”. The other major awards in speculative fiction are the Nebula Awards, given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  

Eric James Stone’s story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette.  It has already been nominated for a Nebula Award in the same category. Stone is making the story available for free until voting on the Hugos closes in July. The nomination is especially interesting for me in that the story is an overtly Mormon story, with Mormon characters and theology.  Also, Stone recently self-published his first novel, Unforgettable, as an e-book.

Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; colors by Howard Tayler and Travis Walton (Hypernode), was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. This is the third year in a row that Tayler has been nominated for a Best Graphic Story Hugo.

Dan Wells and Larry Correia were both nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells were nominated for Best Related Work (a category for non-fiction about the speculative fiction field) for their podcast Writing Excuses, Season 4.

What Mormon authors have won these awards in the past, you ask?  Well, Marny Parkin’s Bibliography of Mormon Speculative Fiction is the place to find out.  Here is what I found.

Orson Scott Card won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer 1978.  Brandon Sanderson was a nominee in the category in 2006/2007. Orson Scott Card swept both the Hugo and Nebula awards for novel in 1985 and 1986 for Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. He also received nominations for the novels Prentice Alvin, Red Prophet, and Xenocide.  Card also won a Hugo Award for the 1988 novella “Eye for Eye”, and for the 1991 nonfiction book How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Card was nominated for either a Hugo or Nebula for eight other short stories, novelettes, or novellas.  Zeena Henderson was nominated for a 1959 novelette, Raymond F. Jones for a 1967 short story, M. Shayne Bell for a 1995 short story, Dave Wolverton for a 1996 novelette,  and William Shunn for two stories.  Dave Howard won both a Hugo and a Nebula for his screenplay of the 2000 movie Galaxy Quest.  Howard Tayler has now been nominated three times for his graphic novels.

While on the subject of awards, Brandon Sanderson had two books nominated for Best Fantasy Novel in The David Gemmell Legend Award For Fantasy.  I do not know how prestigious that award is.

The Lost Gate, by Orson Scott Card, Matched, by Ally Condie, Crescendo, by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White, were among 25 books nominated for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teens’ Top Ten.  The final ten, which will be chosen by Teen readers, will be announced in September.

Jamie Ford is interviewed at the site Seattle Wrote. He talks about the process that led to him writing his first novel, and his upcoming book.

Michael R. Collings, an academic literary critic, poet, and speculative fiction author, is interviewed, talks about his career and publishing POD books.

Scott Hales, at The Low-Tech World, creates a page for a bibliography of essays on Mormon fiction. He is limiting the bibliography to essays that focus on specific works of Mormon fiction. Essays on Mormon poetry or drama won’t make the list, as well as essays that treat Mormon literature generally.

Scott Hales then goes on to offer 500 Words on Mormon Fiction and the Decline of the Rural Utah Aesthetic , where he briefly compares the use of the rural Utah setting versus international settings in Mormon fiction.

Richard Corliss at Time Magazine puts together a “10 Memorable Depictions of Mormons in Pop Culture”   for the magazine website.  Three of the works were created by Mormons or former Mormons.  They are  the 2003 movie Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy,  the play and cable-TV program Bash: Latterday Plays by Neil LaBute (Corliss incorrectly claims that LaBute was “raised in” the faith), and Robert Irvine’s 1988-1995 Moroni Traveler series of mystery novels.  Irvine  apparently was raised in a Utah Mormon family (although Corliss’ reporting skills are stymied by the lack of a Wikipedia entry). If Michael Austin is out there, I know you have written about Irvine, can you tell us anything about him? The list also includes the movies Brigham Young, Wagon Master, and Orgazmo, the plays The Book of Mormon musical and Angels in America, the TV series Big Love, and the Sherlock Holmes short novel A Study in Scarlet

Corianton: A Nephite Story, by B. H. Roberts, is now available for download at Project Guttenburg, thanks to the New Mormon Texts Project.  The story, one of the earliest pieces of Mormon fiction, was first published in The Contributor in 1889. Project Guttenburg published the 1902 book version.

Wm Morris and Theric Jepson announce and post the winning entries in their Monsters & Mormons Belamites contest.  Read the winning entries by Adam K. K. Figueira and Heather Harper.

The  LDStorymakers Writing Conference will be held May 6-7 in Salt Lake City. Annette Lyon talks about the ways to get the most out of the conference, and Stephanie Black talks about her preparation.

New Books

Attack the Lusitania, by Jerry Borrowman. Covenant. Historical. Set in 1915, three men on the luxury cruise liner Lusitania have their lives changed by a copy of the Book of Mormon, and by a German torpedo.  Borrowman has authored several historical fiction novels, usually set in wartime, over the last decade.

Back When You Were Easier to Love, by Emily Wing Smith.  Dutton. Young adult.  Smith’s second novel. A recently dumped girl takes a road trip, tries to figure out what happened. The story has Mormon characters and religion plays a role, as it did her last novel.

Magdalene, by Moriah Jovan. B10 Mediaworx. Romance.  Book 3 in the Tales of Dunham.

The Renewed Earth, by Chad Daybell. Spring Creek. Speculative/Last Days. Standing in Holy Places series, volume 5.  Set in the final days before the Second Coming of Christ.  Spring Creek, run by the Daybell family, in 2004-2007 was a general publisher of Mormon fiction and non-fiction, but in the last three years it has only published the Standing in Holy Places series.


Mr. Monster, by Dan Wells.  Shelah at Shelah Books It.  Favorable. “The last third of the book is really terrifying and disturbing . . . While I’d hand over I Am Not a Serial Killer to a high school student, I’m not so sure I’d want my teenager reading Mr. Monster.”

I Don’t  Want to Kill You, by Dan Wells. Mindy at LDSWBR. 4.5 stars out of 5.

Cross My Heart, by Julie Wright. Gamila. Favorable.

Matched, by Ally Condie. Gamila. Favorable.

Back When You Were Easier to Love, by Emily Wing Smith. Kirkus Reviews. Slightly unfavorable. “The romantic conclusion is safely assured. The faith that is shared by almost all the characters mingles into the narrative in an unusual and kind of quirky way. The church is never the focus, just a natural part of the environment, making it a refreshing element in an otherwise shopworn plot . . . Short, present-tense chapters with some lists and almost poetic interludes interspersed keep the pages turning relatively painlessly. Light, clean and completely predictable, this charming romance has a decidedly old-fashioned feel.”

Back When You Were Easier to Love, by Emily Wing Smith.  Publisher’s Weekly. Favorable. “Smith effectively reconstructs Zan and Joy’s relationship, building tension toward the moment when Joy ultimately faces him again. Despite her vulnerability, Joy’s voice is sturdy, and her articulations about loss and belief are thoughtful and often moving. Self-acceptance and both the comforts and restrictions of the Mormon religion and identity are central themes in this sweet story.”

Back When You Were Easier to Love, at YA Librarian Tales.  Favorable.

Sudden Peril, by Frank Richardson. Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. Mixed. Hansen liked effective action/thriller plot, but was disturbed by the positive description of a secret group of Mormons organized as an independent group, using lies and theft to protect America. “The political overtones of this group smacks of vigilantism and political extremism, even though they don’t resort to meting out punishment until their actions push them into a corner where they must kill or be killed.  Even then, the conclusion smells of deus ex machina.”  I wonder if Richardson’s fictional “Freeman Institute” has any connection to the real Cleon Skousen-founded conservative organization The Freeman Institute (since renamed the National Center for Constitutional Sudies).

Magdalene, by Moriah Jovan. Theric. Very favorable. Note that Theric is Jovan’s editor.

Three Tales of Omne, by Michael R. Collings. Tales from the Bookworm Lair.  Somewhat favorable.

The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint, by Bree Despain.  Raging Bibliomaina. Favorable.

The Lost Gate, by Orson Scott Card. Washington Post. Positive.

Supernaturally, by Kierstan White. Not Quite Superhuman.  Positive.

Short Story

Kenny Kemp. “Clean Slate”.   Available at Smashwords.  Classified as “science fiction” and “detective.”  Kemp says, “A new piece of short speculative fiction that came to me after seeing the movie “Inception” and having a particularly harrowing dream soon thereafter.”

Two short stories that came out in December of January, which I just found out about (by looking at the Parkin bibliography):

Card, Orson Scott. “Geriatric Ward.” In Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories, ed. John Joseph Adams, 385–99. Night Shade Books.

Clegg, Jaleta.  “Mary Had a Possessed L’il Lambkin.” In Wretched Moments, ed. T. L. Perry & Jessy Marie Roberts. Pill Hill Press.


Courage Theatre Company, in Los Angeles, presents Neil LaBute’s bash: latterday plays, a trilogy of intensely-written, modern day Greek tragedies .  Performances through May 15. Tickets are “pay what you can.”


New York Times Bestseller lists, May 1st   

Hardcover Fiction

#19  MILES TO GO, by Richard Paul Evans (2nd week) ↓.  Down from #5 on the hardcover list, and fell off the Combined Hardcover and Paperback list and Combined Print and E-Book Fiction list.

TREASON AT LISSON GROVE, by Anne Perry, fell off the list after one week.  

Trade Fiction Paperback

#8. HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, by Jamie Ford (47th week) ↑. Will this book ever let up?  Up from #9 on the paperback list, and back on the Combined Hardcover and Paperback Fiction list, after a week’s absence, at #29.

Children’s Chapter Books

#1 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: THE OFFICIAL ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, by Stephenie Meyer (1st week). NEW. Includes an interview of Meyer by Shannon Hale.

#7.  A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES, by Brandon Mull (5th week) ↓. Down from #2.

Deseret Book LDS Fiction Bestsellers this week

1 Blackberry Crumbleby Josi S. Kilpack  ↔

2 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 1: The Wanderer by Anita Stansfield

3 The Silence of God by Gale Sears

4 The Walk, Book 2: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans  ↑

5 Captive Heart by Michele Paige Holmes  ↑

6 The List by Melanie Jacobson  ↑

7 Vengeance by Clair M. Poulson  ↓

8 The Undaunted: The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers  by Gerald N. Lund  ↑

9 Shadows of Brierley, Vol. 2: A Far Horizon by Anita Stansfield  ↑

10  The Great and Terrible Six-Volume Set  by Chris Stewart

11 Borrowed Light  by Carla Kelly  ↑

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One Response to This Week in Mormon Literature, April 29, 2011

  1. Andrew-the David Gemmell is fairly prestigious-I personally pay more attention to it than the others as far as heroic fantasy goes.

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